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Micron to build new memory fab in Boise, first for U.S. in 20 years

Micron Technology announced Thursday morning that it plans to invest $15 billion through the end of the decade to build the new plant for "leading-edge memory."

BOISE, Idaho — Micron will build a new fab in Idaho. The Boise-based semiconductor company made the announcement Thursday morning, 23 days after President Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act that will provide incentives for semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. -- legislation Micron has said was needed for the company to expand in this country rather than Asia.

In a news release issued Thursday morning, Micron says it plans to invest about $15 billion through the end of the decade to build a new fab for "leading-edge memory manufacturing" in Boise. It will be the first new memory-manufacturing fab built in the U.S. in 20 years and, the company said, will ensure a domestic supply of advanced memory chips required for market segments such as the automotive industry and data centers.

Hopes that a new fab would be built in Boise were raised with the adoption of the CHIPS legislation, signed on August 9, but Micron didn't confirm that until Thursday.

"With the anticipated federal grants and credits made possible through the CHIPS and Science Act as well as the incentives provided by the state of Idaho and the support of the governor, the new fab will create over 17,000 new American jobs, including approximately 2,000 direct Micron jobs, by the end of the decade," Micron said in its news release.

Micron is also establishing a partnership with the College of Western Idaho for delivery of "key curricula," including Advanced Mechatronics Engineering Technology, to prepare students for the Micron Technician Apprenticeship Program.

"Micron's excitement is exciting news, and the College of Western Idaho is thrilled to work side-by-side with the company to launch this expansion and provide education and the training to fuel the workforce for these jobs," CWI President Gordon Jones said.

More information is to come on the CWI partnership. One of the programs that will be involved is the school's Advanced Mechatronics Engineering Technology program.

"For an employer like Micron, they're going to look and appreciate the many technical and engineering programs we offer at the College of Western Idaho," Jones said. "We have other programs, both under development and currently in place, all of which will add up to the kind of roles we see Micron needing."

CWI is the largest higher education institute in the state. The goal of this partnership is to educate and empower residents for future careers in smart tech.

"98% of the College of Western Idaho students come from right here in the Treasure Valley," Jones said. "We have a responsibility to make sure there are jobs here too. That's where this partnership is special. Because of this, students will be able to go right from CWI to an employer like Micron." 

The company also says it will expand investment for K-12 STEM education and increase its focus on reaching underrepresented and rural students, deepen partnerships with universities and other Idaho institutions, and open a childcare facility across from Micron headquarters to be operated by the Treasure Valley Family YMCA.

Micron, founded in 1978, currently employs more than 6,000 people in Boise.

Shortly after the announcement of Micron's plans to build the new fab in Boise, Mayor Lauren McLean, in a post on Twitter, hailed a "once-in-a-generation investment in Boise from a homegrown company that is critical to the economic vitality of our community, our state and our nation. I'm so proud of the partnership it has taken to get to this point and excited for the opportunities continued collaboration brings."

A statement sent from the mayor's office continued: "We looked hard at what we could do as a city to do our part to make sure this happened in and for our community knowing that, together with Micron, we will grow our economy, protect our open space and clean water, and attract and sustain a diverse, dynamic workforce."

President Biden called the announcement "another big win for America." Assistant White House Press Secretary Emilie Simons talked about what Micron's decision and the CHIPS and Science Act mean for the economy and for national security.

"The pandemic exposed serious vulnerabilities and weaknesses in our supply chains, especially our semiconductor supply chains. When there's weaknesses in those supply chains, it means that there's fewer goods available to Americans. Cars and dishwashers and phones were all affected by a lack of semiconductor chips. We have worked very closely with companies... to create clearer demand signals so that companies like Micron can trust that the demand they're seeing in the marketplace is real, and ramp up their production to meet that demand," Simons said.

On the subject of national security, Simons said semiconductors are "very important for the biggest national defense equipment that we have, so the more that we can create those here at home, the better protected we'll be."

Micron says the Boise fab is the first of the company's "multiple planned U.S. investments following the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, and represents the largest private investment ever made in Idaho. Co-locating the new manufacturing fab with Micron's R&D center at the company's headquarters will enhance operational efficiency, accelerate technology deployment and improve time to market."

RELATED: Micron plans to put more than $150 billion into manufacturing and research & development

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